EIB publication ‘Saving the Past – Shaping the Future’ marks the 10 anniversary of the 7 Most Endangered programme
Over the past 10 years, the 7 Most Endangered programme, run by Europa Nostra in partnership with the European Investment Bank (EIB) Institute, has been helping communities save heritage sites across Europe. To mark the 10th anniversary of this innovative programme, the EIB recently released the publication ‘Saving the Past – Shaping the Future’ , which highlights the success stories and the importance of partnerships and community engagement. The brochure, produced in close collaboration with Europa Nostra, can be read and downloaded in six languages (English, French, German, Italian, Spanish and Polish). A total of 7,000 copies of the brochure in six languages were printed.
“Cultural heritage is key to our European identity. Without it, economic growth would be meaningless. It has a cohesive power that connects European people and communities. (…) The purpose of the 7 Most Endangered programme is not only to save sites. It is to bring people together, at local and regional levels, to figure out the best way to save our tangible and our intangible heritage,” writes Shiva Dustdar, Director and Dean of the EIB Institute in the foreword to the publication.
One decade of work has led to the selection of 56 endangered monuments and sites – from castles to bridges, factories and churches – across 31 European countries. Some 20% of these projects have been successfully completed. Another 50% are making good or medium progress, and only three projects can be considered failures. In a foreword, Guy Clausse, co-founder of the 7 Most Endangered programme and Executive Vice-President of Europa Nostra, writes: “These positive results are the product of this innovative 7 Most Endangered programme combining Europa Nostra’s architectural and historical expertise and its lobbying power with the technical and financial expertise of volunteers — retired EIB engineers, economists and financiers.”
The brochure ‘Saving the Past – Shaping the Future’ also features an interview with Sneška Quaedvlieg-Mihailović, Secretary General of Europa Nostra and co-founder of the 7 Most Endangered programme, who emphasised: “The beauty of this programme is that it gives Europe the ability to show its solidarity and to show that there is a European story that must be saved, one that gives a European connection to people. We are amplifying the work of local people, but they are the ones doing most of the work to save our past for the sake of our future. And they will keep on doing this hard work.”
The publication ‘Saving the Past – Shaping the Future’ was presented for the first time by Laura Piovesan, Deputy Head of the Projects Directorate at the European Investment Bank, during the 60th Anniversary General Assembly of Europa Nostra held on 29 September in Venice in the frame of the European Cultural Heritage Summit 2023. Some 230 members from across Europe took part in this landmark meeting, which was chaired by the Executive President of Europa Nostra, Hermann Parzinger, with the assistance of the Secretary General, Sneška Quaedvlieg-Mihailović.
The Italian version of the brochure was handed over to Cecilia Bartoli, President of Europa Nostra, after her performance together with Les Musiciens du Prince-Monaco of a concert version of Handel’s opera “Giulio Cesare” on 19 October at Philharmonie Luxembourg. On the same day, at the headquarters of the EIB, Guy Clausse and Sneška Quaedvlieg-Mihailović had a fruitful meeting with Shiva Dustdar, Director and Dean of the EIB Institute, and Bruno Rossignol, Head of Programme for Climate and Heritage at the EIB Institute, to discuss ways to sustain and further expand the partnership between Europa Nostra and the European Investment Bank and its Institute in the years to come.
The publication ‘Saving the Past – Shaping the Future’, which features the beautifully restored Carillons of the Mafra National Palace on its cover, one of the success stories of the 7 Most Endangered programme, was outlined by the Secretary General of Europa Nostra during the launch event of the first hub of the Centre Européen de Musique in Portugal, held on 25 October at the Library of the National Palace of Mafra, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. On this occasion, a copy of the brochure was given to the Mayor of Mafra, Hélder Sousa Silva, who thanked both Europa Nostra and the EIB Institute for their strong support for the restoration of the Carillons of the Mafra National Palace.
About the 7 Most Endangered programme
The 7 Most Endangered programme forms part of a civil society campaign to save Europe’s endangered heritage. It raises awareness, prepares independent assessments and proposes recommendations for action. Since 2021, it has also provided a grant of €10,000 per listed site to assist in implementing an agreed activity that will contribute to saving the threatened site. In most cases, the listing of an endangered site has served as a catalyst and incentive for the mobilisation of necessary public or private support, including funding.
The 7 Most Endangered programme, which celebrates its 10th anniversary this year, is run by Europa Nostra in partnership with the European Investment Bank Institute. It also has the support of the Creative Europe programme of the European Union.
Since its launch in 2013, 56 threatened monuments and heritage sites from 31 countries across Europe have been selected. In addition, in 2016, the Venice Lagoon in Italy was declared as THE most endangered heritage site in Europe; and in 2022, the Board of Europa Nostra declared the rich and diverse heritage in Ukraine as THE most endangered heritage in the whole of Europe.